Sunday, June 27, 2010

Children Win as Louisiana Enacts Special Needs Scholarship Program

Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2010) - Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal this week signed into law the nation's 20th private school choice program, which will allow children with special needs to use state-funded scholarships to attend the private schools of their parents' choice.

Hailed by school choice activists as a significant, bipartisan victory for children with special needs in Louisiana, the legislation enacts a two-year pilot program benefiting children in the state’s parishes with populations of 190,000 people or more. Accordingly, children in Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans, and St. Tammany parishes will be eligible to participate.

The scholarships are worth up to half the cost of what the state pays to send participating children to public schools. The new law will assist children in Kindergarten through eighth grade who have autism, developmental delay or other specific learning disorders.

“This new program is a significant victory for Louisiana's children,” said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children, a leading school choice advocacy organization. “This program will improve educational access and quality for thousands of students with special needs across the state, and we applaud legislators from both parties for doing what is right for families and not bowing to pressure from special interests.”

The bipartisan piece of legislation was authored by Representative Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge) and cosponsored by Representative Major Thibaut Jr. (D-New Roads), Representative Patrick Williams (D- Shreveport), Senator Conrad Appel (R-Metairie), Senator Ann Duplessis (D-New Orleans), Senator Eric LaFleur (D-Ville Platte), and Senator Gerald Long (R-Winnfield).

The School Choice Pilot Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities Act will place Louisiana in the ranks of six other states (Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Utah, and Oklahoma) that have enacted school choice programs designed for children with special needs. Across the country there are approximately 24,555 students enrolled in these programs and nearly 200,000 students participating in private school choice programs in general.

Posted on Saturday June 26, 2010 | Louisiana
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...